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Maple is the common name for the genus Acer of the Aceraceae, a family of deciduous trees and shrubs of the Northern Hemisphere, characterized by winged seeds. Maples are popular as shade trees and noted for their brilliant fall colors. Several species provide close-grained, hardwood timber, e.g., the sugar maple (A. saccharum) and the black maple (A. nigrum); these trees are also the main source of maple syrup. In the spring, their sap is drawn off, strained, and concentrated by boiling to produce syrup and sugar. Other well-known species include the box elder (A. negundo), a shade tree, and the swamp, or red, maple (A. rubrum).